What Causes Snoring?

Snoring can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose snoring, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "snoring" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Arrhythmias

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
disturbed sleep
tossing and turning at night
waking up with a headache
weak sexual desire
shortness of breath when at rest
frequent sleepwalking
pain in chest or left side
fatigue after slight exertion
frequent drowsiness
sleep apnea
regular postprandial somnolence
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of snoring:
Cause Probability Status
Sleep Apnea 93% Confirm
Arrhythmias 67% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate sleeping-related problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you snore? If unsure, try to ask someone who has been with you while you sleep.
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Mildly
→ Quite a lot
→ Very much - people complain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate snoring, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

Snoring can be a sign of atrial fibrillation – an irregular, often rapid heart beat that causes poor blood flow.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Sleep apnea manifests itself in most people as loud snoring interrupted by periods of obstructed breathing or breath holding.  If you snore, it may be a symptom of a more serious disorder called obstructed sleep apnea (OSA).  People with OSA almost always snore heavily, because the same narrowing of the airway that causes snoring can also cause OSA.  Snoring may actually attribute to OSA as well, because the vibration of the throat tissues which occurs in snoring can cause the tissue to swell.

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